AUGUSTA (AP) – A 20-year-old Newcastle man was ordered held without bail when he made his initial court appearance Wednesday to face a murder charge in last week’s slaying of a young woman in Wayne who was a former high school classmate.
John A. Okie of Newcastle, appearing in an orange prison jump suit and with his hands and legs in restraints, is charged in the July 10 slaying of 19-year-old Alexandra “Aleigh” Mills, whose body was found by her father in their home in Wayne.
Okie and Mills had been classmates at the private Kents Hill School in Readfield, graduating in 2006.
Other than yes-or-no responses to Justice Donald Marden’s reading of his rights, Okie had nothing to say during his appearance in Kennebec County Superior Court, although he told a television reporter after his arrest, “I didn’t do any of this.” Some of Okie’s family members sat quietly in the courtroom during Wednesday’s session.
Okie was arrested Tuesday at the home of an uncle, Curt Kruger, in East Boothbay, 13 hours after the lifeless body of his father, 59-year-old John S. Okie, was found in the family’s home.
State police have called the case a homicide and are in the early stages of their investigation into the senior Okie’s death.
During Wednesday’s court session, Marden ordered an affidavit containing information about the Mills case impounded.
Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese asked that the affidavit be kept out of public view because the Mills murder remains under investigation and release of information could compromise the case.
Investigators have refused to say whether there is any connection between the Okie and Mills homicides.
The Mills murder case will next go to a grand jury. A hearing to determine whether bail will be set for Okie will be held within a month, his attorney, Leonard Sharon, said.
after the hearing. Okie is now being held at the county jail in Augusta.
Sharon said he is beginning to review evidence in the case and that he had spoken to Okie briefly. The attorney also said he has spoken to his client’s family.
“They’re reacting with a huge amount of dignity” as they grieve the elder Okie’s death while seeing the son face a murder charge in the Mills case, said Sharon.
The day before his murder arrest, Okie had been arrested by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department in Alna and charged with speeding, transportation of liquor and drugs by a minor, drinking in a motor vehicle and operating beyond license restriction, officials said.
John S. Okie, who owned a pottery business that has shops in Damariscotta and Edgecomb, was described as a friendly person who also enjoyed camping, boating, skiing and cycling. An autopsy was being performed Wednesday to determine the cause of his death, but results are not expected to be released.
“The results will be held at this point” while the investigation continues, said spokesman Stephen McCausland of the state Public Safety Department.
McCausland said state police investigators continued to gather evidence Wednesday at the Okie home, a large two-story building on a quiet road in the coastal town. Police were expected to remain at the scene Thursday as well, he said.
The latest events struck hard at Kents Hill School, where Mills had been a popular student and star basketball player.
A statement released by the school said it was “deeply, deeply saddened” by Okie’s arrest and would be working closely with school counselors “to help our community cope and heal.”
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Aleigh’s parents, Donna and Tim, and John’s mother, Karen, at this difficult time,” the statement said.